April 30th, 2012
03:16 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama calls out 'previous statements' about bin Laden

Washington (CNN) – In an apparent swipe at Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama interjected his voice Monday into the back and forth between his re-election campaign and that of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, ahead of Tuesday's anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

Obama was asked his thoughts about the killing during a press conference at the White House with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and seemingly capitalized on comments Romney made about the al Qaeda leader during his first presidential bid.

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"As far as my personal role, what other folks would do, I just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden," Obama said. "I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That's at least been my practice. I said I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it."

Romney's campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul called the president's remarks a "cheap political ploy."

"It's unfortunate that President Obama would prefer to use what was a good day for all Americans as a cheap political ploy and an opportunity to distort Governor Romney's strong policies on the war on terror," Saul wrote in the statement. "President Obama's feckless foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries, weakened our allies, and threatens to break faith with our military. While the Obama administration has naively stated that 'the war on terror is over,' Gov. Romney has always understood we need a comprehensive plan to deal with the myriad threats America faces."

Firing back, the Obama campaign's national press secretary Ben LaBolt took issue with Team Romney's statement praising the Republican's "strong policies on the war on terror."

"When did romney ever outline that counterterrorism policy? (Al Qaeda) wasn't mentioned a single time in his foreign policy speech," LaBolt wrote on Twitter in response to Saul's statement.

Team Obama has touted the president's decision to take out bin Laden in the past week and questioned whether Romney would have made the same decision. The campaign released a web video Friday and campaign surrogates, including Vice President Joe Biden used the president's actions last year to paint Obama as a tough commander in chief.

In his speech Thursday, Biden used Romney's own words to classify the candidate as weak on fighting terrorists. He quoted Romney in 2007, during his first White House bid, saying "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."

Days later, Romney clarified, saying "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."

On the campaign trail Monday, Romney said "of course" when asked if he would have ordered the killing of bin Laden.

"Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," Romney added at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

Also see:

Boehner explains jabs at Obama as 'help'

Clinton, Obama headline Virginia fund-raiser

Romney: U.S. should protect Chinese dissident

Politics of bin Laden: 'Fair game' vs. 'divisive'


Filed under: 2012 • Japan • Mitt Romney • Osama bin Laden • President Obama • White House
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Gayle

    Yuup...to listen to every person who has sat in the office, they were all perfect and better than anyone else. So, why do we keep slipping....slipping....slipping into the roman past- all we need now is a president who can play the violin.

    April 30, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. RealityBites

    Obama killed Osama, and the trust Americans once held for its national news media.

    April 30, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. anagram_kid

    Gov Romney said in 2007, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
    Days later, Romney clarified, saying "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."

    That is not a clarification; that is a contradiction. Or rather, that is a Romneyism – say one thing today and then the opposite tomorrow.
    Obama 2012

    April 30, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Richard

    Romney puts down Carter when he has 5 count them 5 Chicken Hawk sons. Why haven't they joined one of our military brances. Because they have a Yellow Streak down their back like their old man.

    April 30, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    I've seen other posters say that it was a "no-brainer" to order the go-ahead on the mission that took out Osama bin Laden.

    There was not 100% certainty that bin Laden was at the compound; as evidenced by the crash of one of the helicopters at the site, there are always unexpected events that can cause a mission to fail; the Cabinet was split on whether the President should go ahead.

    And we all know that if the mission had failed or US personnel had been captured or killed, we'd be seeing 24/7 ads from the GOP and their SuperPAC lackeys claiming President Obama can't keep us safe (even though we also all know that 9/11 happened on GW Bush's watch) and that he's a failure as Commander in Chief.

    The tricky bit would have been trying to sell milquetoast Robmey as some kind of tough guy ...

    Anyway, President Obama made the call and had ultimate responsibility for the outcome. When it comes to these kinds of military actions, the buck – rightly so – stops with the President.

    And there's nothing wrong with President Obama reminding us of the success of this mission which eliminated the architect of the worst terrorist attack on our soil in our nation's history.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 30, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    Seeing the comments is 10xs more effective than reading them. Repubs. ought to watch it–if they can stand it !

    April 30, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. tigerakabj

    That's right Mr. President. Just like on the auto bailout, Romney was wrong. He's got nothing and he knows it. You have my vote.

    Obama/Biden/E.Warren 2012

    April 30, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Let's get this straight, so we can all understand:

    Over 7 years after 9/11, the GOP ran their candidate for POTUS, McCain, and held their convention to affirm his nomination and kick things off. At the convention, they played a montage on a giant screen that showed footage of the burning buildings, the planes hitting the buildings and the buildings' collapse. The message was clear: "we're the ones to protect you from this threat and finish bringing everyone to justice...oh, and be afraid...be very afraid." Not a single person in the MSM called it out for being the demagoguery that it was.

    About 1 year after a black Dem POTUS kills the ringleader to organized the death of 3,000+ Americans on 9/11, we have two things:

    1. McCain, the very person whose nomination convention demagogued 9/11 in the above-referenced manner, issuing statements that Obama is, for some unknown reason, not supposed to claim credit for the job-well-done of killing bin Laden and making what was a "shared" and "sacred" event for all Americans. The GOP/Teatroll picks up the politicization of the issue by claiing that its Obama who is "politicizing" it for saying he did something good and pointing out that Mittens said he wouldn't have done it; and

    2. The so-called "liberal" MSM jumping on the bandwagon and "questioning" whether Obama should be allowed to take any credit or even talk about having made the risky call to send in the SEALs and bring bin Laden to justice.

    Just another day of IOKIYAR from the MSM...and you're the worst culprit, Gergen. You may think you're being objective, but you're not...you're just carrying the GOP's water.

    April 30, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney (2007) – "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person (bin Laden)."

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney (2012) – "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."

    This guy Mitt is a lying buffon!!!!

    April 30, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    tykl

    How about "I'll close Gitmo"? Maybe you should trade in the soap box for something more fitting.
    -----------------–
    You cannot say that he didn't try to close Gitmo.

    April 30, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Bender

    This from the guy that triple bounces a baseball to home plate. Romney's right that even Jimmy Carter could have made that call. Its was no brainer gift handed to him by intelligence.

    April 30, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All is fair in war and games, so it's time to ask GWB and his previous administration why they couldn't capture or kill bin Laden, afterall they had the same military who had the same capabilities.

    April 30, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Carter served in the US military....Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney and his five sons are MISSING IN ACTION, and serving the mormon church in FRANCE!!!!

    April 30, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "How about "I'll close Gitmo"? Maybe you should trade in the soap box for something more fitting."

    How about some of you rightwing hatewingers are too stupid to remember that it was your own GOBP cult of bedwetting chickenhawks that prevented the closure of Gitmo.

    April 30, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. tykl

    @ Richard – I have heard this lame statement from other Dems. Is it a requirement to be in the armed services? is it a requirement for the CIC or his children? will obama's girls serve in the military or did obama? maybe you should think through things before posting.

    April 30, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. anagram_kid

    @Jpmichigan,
    You do realize a lot of the debt you blame President Obama for introducing was caused by putting Bush’s unfunded wars on the books, right?

    April 30, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "You staed during your first campaign that Ptesident Bush was un patriotic for having a 4 trillion dollars in debt. While you ran up more than that in three years, so are you to unpatriotic?."

    And here we have another example of the defective righttwing mind, unable to tell the difference between President Obama's debt and the debt for which Bush and the GOBP cult is responsible.

    April 30, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "The economy is slumping again, massive layoffs loom large and Odumacrats can't come up with a budget that doesn't pile at least 1$ TRILLION+ PER YEAR onto our national debt."

    And here in reality we see another example of the defective righttwing mind, unable to tell the difference between President Obama's debt and the debt for which Bush and the GOBP cult is responsible. Need more proof of how wrong you and your GOBP cult are? Only President Obama and Ron Paul have proposed deficit reduction plans. Rmoney and Paul "The Undertaker" Ryan have proposed deficit INCREASE plans. Own it. Your GOBP cult has historically been the most fiscally irresponsible party.

    April 30, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    tigerakabj
    That's right Mr. President. Just like on the auto bailout, Romney was wrong....
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    How could Romney have been wrong when after Obama spent $30 billion trying to keep GM and Chrysler from going bankrupt and they went bankrupt anyway? What happened next? Obama did exactly what Romney suggested. So when Obama said the bailout wouldn't cost the American Taxpayer a dime and it will end up costing us $38 billion, maybe the moral of the story is he should have listened to Mitt Romney's advice first.

    Romney 2012

    April 30, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Kenny K

    @tykl
    Gtmo has not been closed because GOP reps fought against it.

    April 30, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Sandy

    Go Obama! Call these jerks out on their lies!

    Obama 2012! Forward we go!

    April 30, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. roscoe

    If you don't like Romney or what he says, wait till tomorrow.....he'll be on your side eventually.

    April 30, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. American

    It took great courage for then Senator Obama to take a stand against OBL in the face of much criticism. It took great leadership to follow-thru on the promise.

    President Obama 2012

    April 30, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Slamore

    Wait a minute- these guys are politicians. What do poiticians do...they play politics. When they run for election it is their job to make the other guy look bad and to cause us to think our lives will be improved only by them. So, you and I fight over something that will never happen while they 'play' politics. I'm voting Romney- life did not get better under Obama. If Romney wins and life does not get better, I will go for the Democrat. That's how I play. Ask me to defend one or the other- are you nuts- they both lie to me...and they both lie to you so why do you defend one or the other. Just vote and stop with the fantasy 'my guy is better than your guy' crap.

    April 30, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Gurgyl

    Romney the total disgrace to this nation...

    April 30, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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